Miami-Dade has given David Beckham a hard time in finding a place for his new soccer stadium. So now the rumblings have begun: He and his investors are considering Broward County.
Some say it's an empty threat made only to pressure Miami.
But before anyone scoffs at the idea of Beckham's putting his soccer stadium in Broward (we're looking right at you, Miami), consider this: Broward has pretty much everything Beckham seems to be asking for (except for, you know, the name Miami).
Beckham has stated his desire to be on the water. And Broward has plenty of seaside and other waterside locations to be considered. Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of America, for crapsake! Not only that but Broward has space. Lots and lots of open space. Look around. In between the restaurants, beaches, and malls.
Space and water -- two things Miami can't seem to deliver.
And Broward leaders are apparently serious in trying to woo Beckham to look north. Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief has asked leaders to come up with lists of possible spots for Beckham to build his stadium.
But we've gone ahead and compiled our own list of seven locations he should consider.
7. Lockhart Stadium (renovated, of course) Let's get the obvious out of the way first: Lockhart Stadium is a piece of shit. OK, now that we've cleared that up, we can move on to why even a ratchety old stadium like Lockhart is a better option than any imaginary stadium in downtown Miami. For starters, it exists. It's already there, and it's built for soccer. Yes, it looks like a high school football stadium, and yes, it's in the middle of craptopia. And, of course, it was built in 1959 and hasn't been renovated since the '90s, but Beckham and his investors need to look at it as a fixer-upper. The stadium has hosted pro soccer for decades and has some historical charm to it. Throw a few million bucks into renovating the bleachers, the press box, the concessions, the field, the concourse, the parking lot, the foundation, the grass, the lights, the scoreboard, the p.a. system, the restrooms, and the video screens, and ping, pro soccer stadium!
6. FAU's Stadium The Stadium Formerly Known as Owlcatraz is begging for someone to come use it (and name it), and it's actually not a bad spot. It has the college vibe that MLS team scan use, and it's only 3 years old, so it wouldn't take much renovation, if any. Of course, since opening in 2011, the stadium has been fraught with controversy, what with FAU selling the naming rights to a private prison firm accused of violating human rights. The controversy was so bad that it eventually led to the school's president stepping down. Also, there's the matter of a reserve possibly being threatened. But outside of that, it's a pretty stadium with 29,419 capacity seating and plenty of parking. Plus little David Beckham's charm and good looks would immediately wipe away all the bad juju.
5. The Dania Pier Let's talk about how Beckham wants a stadium with an ocean view. Well, Dania Pier offers that and more. The entire area surrounding the pier is begging for renovation and expansion, and unlike Miami, there's plenty to work with here. More important, there's a large parking lot here.
4. The Pompano Pier Much like Dania, the Pompano Beach Pier area would offer Beckham and his peeps a cool spot right by the ocean. Pompano has an even bigger parking lot than Dania. The lot is huge enough to plant a brand new stadium in and accessible enough for people to access with ease for games. If Beckham was coveting an area right behind the American Airlines Arena, then Pompano gives him exactly what he wants but with more space and less hassle for the fans going to the games. Plus, there's the pier, which is pretty awesome. All of the pelicans!
3. Port Everglades They tore down the power plant towers and now all of Port Everglades is a void of space and empty warehouses and water. This means there's plenty of space to build a stadium, and once again, you've got the luxury of doing so with the view of the ocean. Becks' hope in Miami is to have a stadium that looks over the water and lets people watch the cruise ships leaving as his team plays on the field below. He can have that exact thing in Port Everglades, except with the added bonus of cargo ships. Still, access is the name of the game, and getting to and from the area via the I-595 would be less of a pain than having to bottle-neck your way through Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.
2. Anywhere West of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport The area west of the airport is nothing but warehouses, old houses, and patches of swamp. It's a desolate wasteland begging for the kind of revitalization that only a state-of-the-art stadium can bring. Just as Joe Robbie did when he built his stadium in a nowhere land, Beckham can do the same thing by planting his soccer stadium in this area. And he can pretty much pick where he wants to put it. Bulldoze some of the crappier motels and unused train tracks and you've got yourself prime stadium real estate. Plus, airplanes flying directly overhead!
1. Right Next to the BB&T Center in Sawgrass This isn't by the ocean, but the area right next to the BB&T Center is nothing but vast untamed land begging for a giant stadium to be planted on it. The biggest positive to a stadium here would be access. And if there's anything a sporting fan wants more than a beer, a hot dog, and a championship, it's access. South Floridians can get to and from the area using either the I-75, the I-595, Sunrise Boulevard, or the Sawgrass Expressway, depending on where they're coming from. The biggest pain in the ass when it comes to attending sporting events (aside from ticket prices, of course) is the traffic. Getting to and leaving Heat games is a nightmare, and the traffic would be an even larger pain when the soccer team and Heat are playing on the same night in downtown Miami. Seriously, there's probably one main exit to the arena, and it's usually clogged with cars, and you get to the game right as the second half is getting started. This would not be the case if the Panthers and the soccer team are playing on the same night. Mainly because nobody goes to Panthers games but also because of the ease of accessibility.